Sunday, January 3, 2010

Texting to Avoid Imprisonment

In Arizona "An advocate for immigrant and civil rights has started using text messages to warn residents about crime sweeps by a high-profile Arizona sheriff."

While the law obviously frowns upon this and even says this could tip off people who are illegally smuggling others, so far nothing has been done to shut down the "texting tree."

Obviously illegal immigrants are a large issue in that area since the article says "Arpaio has conducted 13 sweeps since March 2008, and deputies have arrested 669 people, about half of whom were held on immigration violations."

About four years ago law enforcement officials were performing sweeps in a lot of the neighborhoods in my city. They shut down entire blocks worth of businesses as employees were deported and owners hit with large fees. As you can imagine there was wide-spread paranoia and my family started hassling me to carry identification beyond my customary driver's license. (FYI - we're all US citizens)

Luckily nothing happened to anyone in my family but I remember hearing my parents and their siblings talking daily about where the sweeps had been conducted. I imagine if texting were more prevalent in their age group the information would have gotten out even sooner.

So even though its technically illegal, I am for texting folks to warn them of where the sheriff will be located. He's doing his job and whether part of that job involves racial profiling is between him and his god. I'm mostly concerned about the people caught between that space.

Also, I think twittering would be a faster means of communicating.